A piece of iron placed in a coil of wire carrying a current of electricity becomes an electromagnet. If such a coil and iron core be made small enough they can be attached to a cork and the cork, floating on a solution, will allow the magnet to point north and south. The sketch shows how to make such an instrument. A coil of insulated wire is wrapped around a small iron core, leaving a few inches of each end free for connections. The insulation is removed from these ends and they are run through a piece of cork. Attach to the wires, on the under side of the cork, a piece of zinc to one end and a piece of copper to the other. The cork is then floated on a solution of acid, with the zinc and copper hanging in the solution. If zinc and copper are used, the solution is made from water and blue vitriol. If zinc and carbon are used, the solution is made from sal ammoniac and water.

A Floating Electromagnet 280

The float will move about on the solution until the magnet iron will point north and south. If two of are floating on the same solution, they will move about and finally arrange themselves end to end with the coils and magnet cores pointing north and south. --Contributed by C. Lloyd Enos.